Want bluetooth in your e46? How about iPod? Sirius Satellite? Oh, and an auxiliary input?
The Dice Mediabridge was just released and will meet those needs.
The device can be installed either in the trunk (referred to as trunk interface),
or at the radio (referred to as radio interface). This install did not include the Sirius Satellite interface.
This review/DIY refers to the radio interface version.
First, let's look at what you get:
From left to right:
firmware update cable
iPod cable (extra)
USB extension cable (can be used in place of iPod as a source)
Here's a shot of the connectors on the Mediabridge.
From top to bottom:
Sirius Satellite Radio
Here's a shot of the wiring harness.
Begin by removing the trim on the passenger side:
There will be four attachment points, work each one loose and the trim panel will pop off.
The center trim panel can then be removed, there is only one attachment point for it.
Remove the two screws and the radio will slide out.
Remove all connections from the back of the radio - mine had two.
One large harness for the radio, and a small single pin connector for the antenna.
I didn't get any really good pictures of this, but next I removed the glove box.
There were six screws around the edges of the glove box, then I had to pop it
forward and it slid right out.
Glove box removed and sitting on passenger floor.
I did a quick connection and test to make sure everything was working.
A successful test completed, I then disconnected the unit and began running
the microphone cable. I wanted to install the microphone in the factory
location, which is in the same panel that houses the homelink transmitter and sunroof switch.
I began running the wire up the outside of the passenger A pillar.
After I brought the wire up the A pillar, I then ran it up into the headliner and over to the
center panel. I removed the panel, fed the microphone through the headliner, and then hid
Microphone installed in factory location, all wiring hidden, panel reinstalled.
I also finished tucking the wire along the outside of the A pillar down past the dashboard
and then brought it into the glovebox area.
Next, I removed/loosened the center vents, HVAC control unit, and the frame for the radio and HVAC.
Removing the center vents took some work - various forums warned me they would be tightly attached
and they were right!
I used my interior panel pry tools, and a small screwdriver (taped up to protect the interior) to
wiggle the vents free. Once the top two corners were free, I lifted/wiggled the bottom of the
vents until they finally came loose. Here's a picture of the vents removed.
I also removed the sunglasses cubby and temporarily moved the HVAC control unit out of the way.
To remove the sunglass cubby, simply reach inside the cubby and pop up while pulling toward you.
The panel will disengage and come right out.
Removing the HVAC panel was simple as well, simply push from behind the panel and it will slide forward.
There are two screws to remove the carrier which holds the radio and HVAC unit.
These screws are located below the HVAC unit.
With the carrier slid forward, I could then reposition the factory harness connector for the radio.
I moved it up and to the left of its original position.
Sorry, no pictures of these steps - my photographer was not available!
I then fed the wiring harness for the mediabridge above and behind the carrier.
I connected the Mediabridge harness to the factory harness for the radio.
I removed the blue clip from the cd changer cable in the factory harness and
placed it on the harness for the Mediabridge and secured the replacement cable.
I then connected the Mediabridge.
Here's a couple shots of everything put back together and tested.
So, after all that - what's the verdict?
I opted for the radio interface as I thought it would be easier than having to run a cable
all the way from the trunk cd changer interface to the front of the car.
Now, after having done the install, I think it might be a wash.
While it would probably be more work running that cable forward, and positioning the mediabridge
device; there's absolutely no room to work in the dash area. Feeding the cables in and
out took forever.
Also, I did several test fits and had some issues with the harness connector on the back of the
radio. That plastic has been through a few heat cycles and cracked while I was fiddling with it.
If the radio side of the connector breaks, the only option is to replace the radio.
For now, the connection is holding well.
So, the tradeoff is fiddling around in the dash or running a cable from the trunk.
Difficulty of install: 6 out of 10. I'm rating it slightly above average (with one being easiest)
simply because of the confined workspace, the difficult harness connection (BMW loves their cam-lock
connectors) and running cables in the dash. Interior disassembly on the e46 has come a long way
from the e36, and is very easy. I'm always fearful of removing trim in the e36 because it all feels
like it was designed to be installed once. The e46 interior does not feel this way.
The device functions as advertised. I did not test the auxiliary input or the Sirius satellite radio
connection. I did test the USB/iPod interface, and the bluetooth interface. Both worked very well.
The system announces what you are listening to when using iPod, and will announce callers when your
phone rings or you dial a number.
Bluetooth streaming worked very well and I was happy with the sound quality. Using the phone also
worked without any issues; callers reported they could clearly hear me and there was no echo. The
time involved in installing the microphone in the factory location is really worth the effort as
its shielded from wind and noise, plus its totally hidden.
The unit is somewhat particular about the process of going into its built-in setup mode. I did have
some problems getting the unit to respond to setup mode requests. You can use the setup mode to do
things like program how long it'll charge an iPod when the car is shut off, how quickly it scrolls
data across the radio, and other items like volume, etc.
The install guide/instruction manual is bare bones and could stand some improvement. The device
is sold through EAS - European Auto Source
- they have been
very responsive and helpful during the purchase process. I'll report back on their response regarding
some of the concerns/issues I noted.